INSIDE: Tired of dreading exercise? These 5 steps will help you transform how you feel about exercise so you’ll be able to actually enjoy exercise!
We all have a number of excuses as to why we can’t fit exercise into our lives…
We don’t have time.
We hate to sweat.
We’re in too much pain.
We just can’t seem to find the motivation even though we want to be thinner and feel better.
Bottom line: We don’t exercise because it’s too uncomfortable.
Most of us feel that exercise is uncomfortable, and unfortunately, when we perceive it that way, we’ll find any excuse to keep from doing it.
According to Psychology Today, many of the discomforts associated with exercise include not wanting to sweat or be out of breath, not wanting to mess up our hair, hating sore muscles, and not wanting to work out in front of people.
Obviously, this is a problem felt by most Americans since the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionreports that only about 20 percent of U.S. adults are meeting the federal government’s physical activity recommendations.
One thing is for certain: If you continue to think of exercise as uncomfortable and therefore something you want to avoid, you will continue to have the ever-present struggle of trying to fit exercise into your life (without ever really succeeding).
That’s why changing your mindset about exercise is essential. While that can feel easier said than done, here is a five-step process that will help you discover how to enjoy exercise.
How to Enjoy Exercise: 5 Steps to Transforming Your Exercise Mindset
Step 1 – Realize Exercise is Self-Care
When thinking about exercise, if you’re viewing it as a chore, there is no way you are going to stick with it, especially if you are a worn out mom who already has a million things to do.
Instead, view your fitness routines as therapy or self-care.
These days, most people understand the benefits of exercise, some of which include:
- Having more energy
- Managing your weight
- Feeling more confident
- Maintaining better health
- Feeling happier
- Reducing stress
By focusing on the benefits instead of on the things you don’t like about working out, you can begin to train your mind to view it as an essential part of your self-care routine.
At the same time, it’s important to realize that it will take some time to experience most of those benefits. In the beginning, you’ll just have to keep telling yourself the advantages are coming. After a couple of weeks, you’ll start experiencing them for yourself, and that’s when exercise automatically becomes more enjoyable.
Step 2 – Make it a Mindful Process
If you hate exercising so much that all you think about while doing it is how much you can’t wait to get it done, you’ll never learn to enjoy it. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to enjoy the process.
According to VeryWell.com, mindfulness during exercise can bring you a stronger connection to your body, better results, and more satisfaction.
All you have to do is focus on the exercise you are doing and experience it in your body. As you feel the burn, let that ignite a feeling of power and confidence as you sculpt your body into what you want it to be.
Changing the way you engage your mind during a workout is a simple mindset shift that makes all the difference in how you feel about exercise and the results you will get from it.
Step 3 – Make it as Fun as Possible
Even when you understand that exercise is an essential self-care therapy, it can still be difficult to get yourself to do it. If you can make it as fun as possible, however, you’ve got a much better shot at being successful.
By thinking creatively, you can find ways to change exercise from feeling like a chore to being fun. Here are some ideas:
Work Out With a Friend – While this isn’t always feasible, it certainly makes exercise fun. Whether it’s walking, biking, hiking, taking a yoga class together, or just exercising with a friend in your living room, you can enjoy some time together as you help each other meet your fitness goals.
Do Something That Doesn’t Feel Like Exercise – Exercise doesn’t always have to mean running on a treadmill or lifting weights. From gardening to swimming to going out dancing, there are many ways to engage in fun physical activity that doesn’t feel like a dreaded workout.
Take a Class, Join a Team Sport or Join a Cause – Maybe you’ve always wanted to take dance classes or join a hiking club. That’s a great way to ensure you’ll get regular physical activity while having fun at the same time. It can also be a blast to work towards a marathon that benefits a cause – it gives you something to work towards, and you can meet new people and train with them.
Diversify – When we get stuck in the same old exercise routines, we, of course, lose our motivation. By trying lots of new things, you’ll keep things interesting, and you’ll always be looking forward to a new and exciting workout.
Listen to Rockin’ Music – Who doesn’t love to rock out to their favorite music? Exercise can be a great excuse to do that. Let yourself get lost in the beat and before you know it, you will have concluded an amazing workout without even realizing it.
Step 4 – Get Inconvenient & Enjoy the Pain
We live in a time when things are almost too convenient.
Our cars transport us everywhere, remotes ensure we don’t have to get up, and computers keep our butts planted on our seats all day long.
Instead of always making choices that allow you to exert yourself the least, flip it around so you can get more exercise in the midst of your everyday activities. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Look for parking spots that are NOT the closest.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Instead of emailing your coworker, walk over to her desk.
- Walk or bike to take care of local errands.
- When you have to keep cleaning up your toddler’s toys, look at it as an opportunity to do some squats.
Another part of this step is enjoying the pain, and that means that when your body hurts the day after a workout, be excited about it!
We are so accustomed to avoiding pain that we rush to the pain killers the minute we feel any discomfort. But pain after a workout is a good thing because it means you made an impact on your body!
NOTE: Pain is good as long as it’s not an injury. In a Shape article, fitness and nutrition expert Harley Pasternak explains, “A good way to tell the difference is if the pain is bilateral. Having one very sore shoulder after you’ve worked both shoulders could spell injury.”
Step 5 – Underwhelm Yourself
Too often, we overwhelm ourselves when we start a new fitness routine. We go from nothing to thinking we can work out every day.
A better strategy is often to set the bar low. Set a goal to do ten sit-ups a day, for example. Anyone can do that, right? And while that probably won’t make much of a difference in the way you look and feel, what it will do is make it incredibly easy for you to get it done. And once you’re on the floor banging out ten sit-ups, it’s convenient and easy to do ten or twenty more.
When we feel like something is really easy, it removes a lot of the blocks that keep us from accomplishing a goal, and it paves the way for surpassing that goal.
Make the Shift
It’s miserable to go through every day of your life trying to push yourself to workout when you really, really don’t want to. Use these steps to change your mindset so you can discover how to enjoy exercise instead.
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